Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Mothering Chronicles 9: Beyond Picket Fences

Of course I've thought it myself, but others have let the word form on their lips, in their raised eyebrows, in their silence. Craziness.

To sell the home that hands and hearts hinged together nail by nail, surely that's madness. To walk away from that place you built together with friends and planned on remaining forever, surely that's insane.
There's no other place like that in the county. In the country, for that matter.

But the moments are few, and this home, she drinks them like there has been a drought insisting on having more than her fair share. Insists on sending a Father to work over 85 hours a week to quench her thirst for months and long, long months. Insists on demanding this homeschooling momma work two other part time jobs. She's gotten greedy, this home.

And we've walked many miles in these shoes. Our souls are thinning.

Just because we can afford, does that mean we should afford? And maybe the 2.2 children and one lovely white picket fence thing is a little overrated when there is a world beyond that fence and millions of children with no fence, and no bed, hearts and bellies hungry for real food, real love. And really? They're out there, and I'm cutting my kentucky blue grass, clinging to an American dream? Who's clinging to them?

And where is God in homes and finances and godly people just trying to make their ends come together? Godly people obeying the directions their Father gave. Where is God's heart when Daddy is working another double and Momma's back is to her children, working again? Where is God when we cling to bricks and mortar, and our children's frames stretch for the sky, and the number of years they will remain with us is now fewer than the number of years we've already shared?

Because they do grow up.
And we don't have them forever.
And when all is said and done, what is truly the important thing in life?
What truly matters?
What is the best thing we can give to our children?
Are not these children the first stewardship we have?

And who can have a marriage who doesn't have time to share with their beloved?

And is home really this moon-yellow colonial farm house, or is it the place where we four gather?
And is the view from living room windows that I love best really the dusty-red dogwoods in early October or the dyed red hair of a 12 year old and the nappy long locks of a 10 year old while they conquer an invisible world when school's done? And if home and view are the latter, then don't they exist wherever we are?

Don't they?

And wouldn't it be crazier to stay? To eek it out when we could have taken less of this world to gain more of the things that truly matter?

What message do we send, when we hold to the temporary, insisting to our children that it is of some great value?
Because what they value is our eye contact, our heart contact, our time. Us with them. Daddy home. Mommy undistracted. Daddy and Mommy together, hands tangled, hearts twined, mouths laughing. Football in the backyard, full contact solitaire in the loft, Little Men on rain soaked afternoons.

Do we confuse them when we quote, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal . . . " (Matthew 9:16) and then turn around and continue to work at storing up, holding on, clinging to these earthly treasures?

And what did He say about the man who wants to serve two masters?

No man can serve two masters.

And what did He say about the church that tried to have it both ways?

Luke warm.

And what did He say about the man who asks God for wisdom, but doesn't take that wisdom and live by it?

Double minded. Tossed about like a wave of the sea.

And sometimes it is just dadgum hard not to have it both ways, if you want to know the truth. That's the truth.
The truth of how I feel, but feelings change, and if my truth is based on my feelings, than my truth is not constant. But then, I know The Truth.

And He--The Truth--says, "I am the way . . . I am the life. What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Yet I know how those disciples felt, the ones that said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" I know how they felt when they turned and walked the other way. The broad way.

A path well trod is easy on feeble feet, but it takes faith to place feet in foamy waves and trust that, keeping your eyes fixed on Him, you will not falter.

Could less really be more?
Could we live that out and see it to fruition?
Could we look the Jones Family square in the face and tell them, you win. We're not racing anymore. We're satisfied with loving each other and our children instead.
Could we lead the charge that insists status quo is not good enough, and picket fences may mean cages, and freedom may be found in letting go of them and clinging to Christ.

Is faith really the substance of things hoped for, the evidence not seen?

Because our forever home is sold, and we are two weeks away from a closing with no other sure thing on the horizon.

Evidence NOT seen.

When you step into the water, leaving the safety of the boat--the safety of a home you know and love, a life you're comfortable with--you better believe He is good. Better have that Truth to place timid, tentative toes upon.

And I do.
Believe He is good.
Believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Believe He is able to keep us from falling.
Believe He never leaves, never forsakes.
Believe He is a strong tower.
Believe He knows the plans He has for us, that they are good, hope-filled.
Believe He will keep in perfect peace him--little me--whose mind is steadfast on Him.
Believe He will give peace that passes understanding as a sentinel to guard this frightened heart.
Believe He has never, not one single time, let me down.

Believe me,
I do.

Pray with me: Father, you are the one who is able to keep us from falling. You are the God who promised that 'in our hearts we would plan our course, but YOU would determine our steps.' You are the substance of our faith. Determine our steps, Father. May we have your heart, your priorities. May you be our gain. May you be our home. May you be our forever. Amen.